For some people, animal cruelty is a serious issue; for others, it is not.

A year ago, animal lovers around the world were riveted by the discovery of a young dog just hours from death at the bottom of a trash chute in Newark, New Jersey. Named Patrick, the young pup was breathing but otherwise unresponsive. He was rushed to the local animal shelter and then to a veterinary clinic. It was touch and go for many weeks. As soon as one problem was solved, another one appeared. His body had been ravaged by months of starvation and exposure.

Against all odds, he has recovered in the last year, but his case shows quite graphically what psychopaths do. With the frequency and ferocity of all forms of abuse increasing, we are facing a plague of pain and waste.

Patrick's former owner claims that she didn't feed him because she didn't want him. She used to tie him up outside her apartment building in hopes that someone would steal him.

It should be noted that Patrick's deterioration did not happen quickly. He may have been kept with little or no food for months. Starvation is an agonizing death because it is a slow death. The body consumes itself.

If Patrick's former owner is indeed a psychopath, this is what she will do:

She will deny responsibility for the dog’s condition.
She will justify why she kept him, but refused to care for him.
She will minimize the reality of his suffering and position herself as the victim.
She will blame someone else for her own behavior.

As the case unfolded, it became clear that this woman took no steps to place Patrick in another home or surrender him at an animal shelter. Instead, she mistreated him because it gratified her to do so. Psychopaths derive gratification from inflicting harm. Their undetected presence in society is the root cause of most suffering.

When the case went to court, the defendant's mother maintained that her daughter was innocent of any wrong-doing. This is a hallmark of the generational aspect of organic brain damage. When confronted with evidence of abuse, psychopaths and their families close rank and cry foul. They have written the book on denial.

Here are some other identifying hallmarks of psychopathy:

1. Justification (no matter how egregious the act)
2. Control over others (the chief requirement in all dealings)
3. Lack of self control (a prominent, ironic characteristic)
4. Blame (often done in concert with justifying)
5. Minimizing (to deflect attention)

Tens of millions of people and animals are harmed by psychopaths every day. It doesn't have to be this way. The hallmarks of abuse have been decoded and they can be learned. And this will turn the tables on the abusers in this world.

Author's Bio: 

Anna Moss teaches relationship literacy: the prevention of abuse and personal restoration from abuse.

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